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Lufia & the Fortress of Doom
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The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare
Bart’s Nightmare is often considered one of the better retro Simpsons games as well – although that may be because it’s not competing in a particularly strong field of candidates.
By today’s standards Bart’s Nightmare is an overly difficult and strangely structured beast – but it still has some interesting elements.
One plus point is the game’s presentation, which as you can tell from the screenshot is very colorful and quite unique.
This is mainly as the developers used a hand drawn art style, which ends up portraying the bright colors of The Simpsons’s cartoon world quite well. It looks a little ramshackle by today’s standards, but still maintains a certain charm.
The music used is also quite strange, exuding an oddly lulling quality that is very hard to accurately describe (as you can tell from that hash of a sentence).
In terms of plot the game sees you play as Bart, who falls asleep at his desk while attempting to do his homework.
You are then taken into an odd dream world where you must recover nine pages to get back to reality.
To find the pages you have to scour the game’s hub (see above), which sees you avoiding crazed mail boxes, old ladies who shoot kisses, bouncing basketballs and so on.
Finding a page is seemingly a random event – and at this early point is where the game may start to test your patience.
Finding the pages isn’t enough either. You have to jump into one when you find it, and select one of two doors to enter.
Each one takes you to a different stage, with every challenge different from the last.
This is where one of the main problems with the game lies. Although it offers up a variety of challenges, each has its flaws – making the game a rather bittersweet experience.
Most of the problems contribute to the game’s over-difficult nature as well.
In the Itchy and Scratchy stage for example, it can be tough to avoid taking consecutive hits before you’re able to fight back.
The Bartzilla stage on the other hand, doesn’t even have the common courtesy of giving you a life bar.
A Indiana Jones inspired block jumping stage also feels far too random to be fun.
The controls also needed refinement. Your jump (B button) is too stiff and inflexible to make you feel in complete control, and movement is a little stilted in general to boot.
Overall, Bart’s Nightmare hasn’t aged particularly well. It’s presentation now acts as less of a cover for its slightly sloppy structure, but if you’re a Simpsons die-hard you might get something out of this.
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Street Racer is still no Mario Kart, but is much better than it has any right to be – just make sure you give it sufficient time to impress. ~Simon Reed
I’m not sure how I haven’t yet revisited Street Racer, as it seems a perfect for this blog. A game that’s slightly obscure and been forgotten by many, but still has elements that means it’s worthy of re-appraisal.
A Mario Kart style racer developed by Ubi Soft, Street Racer could easily be dismissed as a lesser imitation during your opening minutes of playtime.
Despite a rocking opening music track for the main menu and some solid if uninspiring looking cartoon characters to choose from – such as Frank (Frankenstein), what looks like a gold prospector and a beach babe – you’ll struggle to get to get to grips with the actual racing itself.
The game uses Mode 7 (at least it sure looks like it does) to a near nauseating degree, and tracks spin and warp quite badly.
This makes the simple task of seeing what’s coming up ahead much tougher than it should be. It looks good in stills (see above) but the game is no picnic when in full flow.
What makes things worse is that the fairly loose handling takes a fair while to get used to. You need to slow down regularly here – odd for a cartoon karting game – to get anywhere fast (pun intended).
Especially when you consider that you can’t really make out walls due to the Mode 7 graphics until the very last moment.
Added to the initial malaise of annoyance is the unclear power up/weapons system.
There are no pick up weapons in Street Racer, only turbo boosts (used with Y). Attacks, in the form of your racer punching, are done with the L and R buttons, which allow you to punch to the left and right respectively. X makes you perform a short jump.
If you can cope with these problems/oddities though – and it’s a big if – the game does get better the more you play it.
The more open tracks, such as a beach level, are easy enough to negotiate around for example, and you suddenly get the extra confidence to be able to weave your way through the pack – which you possibly didn’t feel like you could do before.
Better still, the game boasts some rather unique little features.
One is that after each race extra points are awarded to the racer who gets the fastest individual lap time, punches the most opponents and collects the most stars scattered around the track.
This is a neat little touch, and adds another welcome layer of depth to races. It can mean you can finish fourth but still accumulate a healthy number of points.
The other interesting part of the game is the inclusion of two multiplayer modes (they can be played in single player if you must) alongside the regular races.
One is a ‘Rumble’ mode, which has you trying to knock/punch off your fellow racers off a small arena. Depending on the difficulty setting you have buffers around the arena that slowly deteriorate when they’re hit.
It’s a little messy, especially with no real weapons to speak of, but still fun.
What’s even more chaotic is the ‘Soccer’ option though.
It has eight racers on one small pitch all attempting to take a football and thwack it into the one goal. The goal has a pong-esque paddle as a goalkeeper, and it’s as ridiculous to play as it sounds.
Despite it’s problems – it can take you minutes at a time to get the ball – it’s a brave experiment and one, against all odds, that’s still playable today.
In conclusion, Street Racer is still no Mario Kart, but is much better than it has any right to be – just make sure you give it sufficient time to impress.
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Konami made sure you sweat when you play this game. ~Luis Zena
This is one of the games that brought back interesting gameplay to a very interesting and abandoned sport genre, Soccer. The game itself is very easy to handle, of course you won’t be able to do much with the weaker teams so I suggest you start playing with the stronger teams like Brazil or Germany.
The goal keeper is something else as he will guard the post like if it was a matter of life and death! I’m totally serious, this guy gets to a point that you just want to break the controller. HE SAVES EVERYTHING!! The post is also as big as it can get and the bastard always somehow makes the save.
Either way, it’s always a challenge to beat him. I usually just lure him out of the post and pass the ball back for a kick on the side he is furthest from and he still manages to save the ball half the time. Yeah, Konami made sure you sweat when you play this game.
The teams are also very unbalanced in the aspect of weakest to strongest. I know that most games are very playable even with the weakest character (TMNT Raph, I’m talking to you!) but this one makes you want to just pick Brazil or Germany half the time. You can try it with other teams but you’ll end up having a very hard time beating the goal keeper or even catching up to the offense as your guys aren’t even as fast as your rival. This uneveness makes you work harder and truly think like a pro to find a way to win. I haven’t played the game so much to get to that point, but you will know what I mean when you play it.
To conclude, the game is very entertaining just don’t let yourself pick any other team other than Brazil or Germany when you start playing. With enough practice, you can beat the team with the weaker teams like Japan, USA, and even Mexico.
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Of course, hardcore players like me don’t need strategy guides (“Ha! I laugh in the face of your pathetic guide of weakness!”), and I blitzed my way through this enormous and complex game with nary a moment’s pause. OK, maybe I peeked at the guide a teeny weeny bit, but only when I was really stuck. Honest. ~Lewis Packwood
Format: Super NES Genre: Adventure Released: 1994 Developer: Nintendo
Metroid Prime on the GameCube was a strong contender for the list, but in the end I decided to go with Super Metroid as my most fondly remembered Metroid game. If you’ve never played it, I urge you to download it from the Wii Virtual Console with all possible rapidity – it really is an absolute classic, reflected in that fact that it’s still knocking around the top of the Game Rankings ‘All Time Best‘ list.
The thing that always stands out in my memory about Super Metroid is the bloody great big box that it came in – bizarrely, Nintendo decided to ship the European version of the game with an enormous strategy guide detailing every last corridor and secret item in the whole game. I don’t think this kind of marketing tactic has been attempted before or since (correct me if I’m wrong) and you’ve got to admit that it’s a bit of strange decision. It’s as if Nintendo were about to launch the game and then suddenly thought:
“Ooooh, maybe it’s too difficult for them? What if they get a bit, you know, frustrated? I know, let’s tell them exactly how to do everything in the entire game. That should do it.”
Of course, hardcore players like me don’t need strategy guides (“Ha! I laugh in the face of your pathetic guide of weakness!”), and I blitzed my way through this enormous and complex game with nary a moment’s pause. OK, maybe I peeked at the guide a teeny weeny bit, but only when I was really stuck. Honest.
The highlights of Super Metroid were undoubtedly the bosses – particularly the screen-filling Kraid (see screenshot below). He (I presume he’s a he anyway) doesn’t seem to learn though. Put it this way: if I was entirely invulnerable except for a weak spot in my mouth, I would probably keep my mouth shut the entire time, rather than periodically unleashing reptilian screams of fury then wondering why I kept getting hurt.
However, I think the overall reason that Super Metroid was so successful was that it constantly drove you to see what was around the next corner. Every few screens you’re presented with some sort of barrier to your progress – perhaps a seemingly impassable lava pit or a platform that’s just out of reach – and one of the game’s joys is collecting a new item or ability and then backtracking through the game to see what new areas it will open to you. In fact, Super Metroid engendered an almost compulsive urge to explore every nook and cranny of the game world in the hunt for elusive weapons and upgrades, and the triumphal music that accompanies the discovery of each item is right up there as one of the most pleasing game sound effects of all time (possibly only beaten by the music accompanying the opening of a treasure chest in Zelda: Ocarina of Time).
You could argue that its excellent graphics and inspired shift to 3D make Metroid Prime the instant stand-out game of the Metroid series, but in terms of gameplay there’s very little Prime does that Super Metroid doesn’t.
Excluding duplicated games, Super Metroid is currently at number 8 in the All Time Best games list – which is frankly not high enough in my opinion. Buy this game now: you won’t regret it.
Soul Blazer for the SNES is just another wonderful title by Enix to keep us RPG geeks with something to do during the SNES era of greatness! The music is nothing but wonderful. Enix sure did a great job with the soundtrack and sound effects of their games. You can’t beat the 16-bit sound effects from yesterday. If anything, they motivate you to continue with your quest and finish up a wonderful title. Graphics wise, it is decent. You won’t find any graphics like from lets say Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger but you’ll find some decent graphics that’ll be more than enough to keep your eyes happy till the end of the game. Things look like how they are supposed to so be happy to at least have that.
As far as the gameplay, it is quite satisfying. You will have to come up with your own strategies to defeat certain bosses. You just can’t run to them and kill them, it’s a good way to use your head in a way. There is also a level up system that of course makes you stronger. Weapons, and other items are on the way to help you finish your quest. Everything an action-RPG title should bring is here! Don’t look anywhere else! The game is quite fun but would only be good for a replay if there are extra things you might have missed on your first run. Then again, if you find defeating bad guys and playing this game as satisfying then I suggest you go for it! It’s a great experience overall and experiencing it again would just be joyful and action packed once more.
To conclude, this is a must have for anyone’s collection and anyone willing to step down the golden ages of the 16-bit era. You can’t go wrong with titles from Enix! They always delivered high quality stuff.
Genre- Puzzle Platformer
I have quite a few N64 games. Not as many as the true collectors out there – but far too many to actually have played them all.
So I flick through my un-played carts, all picked up for pennies and lurking at the back of the draw, flicking through Earthworm Jim 3D, Road Rash 64, Twisted Edge…until I decide to take a punt on Lode Runner 3-D.
Why it has the dash between the 3 and the D, I do not know. But anyway.
A puzzle game based on an ancient title from 1983, I recall Lode Runner 3-D was given a lukewarm response by N64 Magazine at the time of its release – so how bad could it be?
Well, it turns out it’s not a bad game. Just one that was considered slightly archaic even at the time of its release – and, well, time has not been kind.
It’s hard to describe whether this is a 3D (or ‘3-D’) or 2D game to be honest. Although your movement is fixed on a 2D path, levels branch out into 3D space, twisting, turning, and overlapping with a certain frustrating rigour.
The game is based around completing self-contained stages by collecting a set amount of tokens, with different obstacles and challenges set against you.
Most involve the destruction of boxes though (see the purple ones above), which can be blasted away with a burst of your laser gun, fired with the Z button.
These boxes come back after a certain time though, and if you’re in the space which they pop back into, you’re dead.
A more likely death will come about by walking into the red suited monks that stalk you in most of the levels though – and if killed (by either blowing them up with bombs or trapping them in the boxes) they simply re-spawn and chase you all over again.
These creepy monks (you never see their faces) are a little out of sync with the space theme, but do offer up a very tangible threat. Even if all they do when they catch you is jog back and forth on the spot where you fell. The fools.
In most levels one wrong move is enough to scupper any chance you have, but due to the sprawling nature of some stages a trial and error approach can be the only way to get through them.
Although you can see a fair bit of the stage with the solid camera (although for such a simple game i’d expect this element to be decent), there are still many times where you’ll die because you won’t be able to predict what the game will throw at you.
Eventually then, you might get a little bored, and for the larger levels you simply won’t have the motivation to play any more.
Generally Lode Runner 3-D looks a little tired by modern standards, with its chunky 3D graphics and one-note puzzling. Despite good intentions, this is a game best left in the past.
Super Star Wars
Format: Super NES Genre: Run and Gun Released: 1993 Developer:Sculptured Software/Lucasarts
Super Star Wars blew my tiny little adolescent mind when I first played it. Graphically it was superb, with crisp and colourful visuals that really captured the look of the film, and even today it still looks pretty damn good. In particular, I remember the Mode 7-generated battle above the Death Star was spectacular at the time, as was the climactic fight against Darth Vader’s TIE fighter at the end – although sadly I only saw this on a couple of occasions because the game was so f*****g hard. But more on that in a minute…
As well as looking fantastic, Super Star Wars sounded amazing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it has possibly the best sound effects and music on the SNES – the 16-bit versions of the famous Star Wars tunes are absolutely spot on, and the sound effects are probably the meatiest on the console (apart, perhaps, from the OTT gun noises in Super Smash TV). Particular praise should go to the noise that the womp rats make when you shoot them – it sounds more like a train being shunted off a bridge than the demise of a fleshy sci-fi creature (listen to the video below to hear for yourself). But then again, the extravagant sound effects are in keeping with a run and gun game that has all the knobs turned up to 11 – I mean, practically everything explodes in a ball of flame when you shoot it, even the Jawas (who also fly comically off the screen with a satisfying ‘ooOOOtiiini’ noise lifted straight from the film).
But for all its preening good looks and aural bombast, Super Star Wars was always a little rough around the edges when it came to the gameplay department. Sadly, the massive sprites and evocative music don’t quite cover up the shoddy collision detection, inept bosses and utterly infuriating level design…
…but at the time I could forgive it – the all-consuming desire to see the next gorgeously realised level had me hooked, and the showy visuals – not to mention the fact that it’s Star Wars goddammit – were enough to keep me plugging away until I finally, FINALLY, managed to finish it. Although looking back now with the benefit of hindsight, I’m amazed I had the patience…
Here at 101 Video Games, we generally write our reviews based on our personal memories of the games, rather than what they’re actually like to play now. The idea is to generate a record of the games that enriched our lives, rather than a list of ‘top’ games – hence the inclusion of games that taught us a valuable life lesson (Rise of the Robots) or that simply made us smile (Dog Walking). However, I got so nostalgic about Super Star Wars after watching videos of it while researching this post, I ended up downloading it from the Wii Virtual Console so I could play it again.
A fatal mistake.
It all started off pleasantly enough as I happily romped across the dunes of Tatooine, blasting the local fauna into oblivion with carefree abandon and generally having a whale of a time. But then I started noticing the cracks…
[Lewis sits playing through the first level of Super Star Wars. Gradually his brow begins to furrow and a slight frown plays across his mouth as he nears the end of the stage. We listen in to his internal monologue…] “Hold on, no matter what I do, I don’t seem to be able to avoid getting hit by these creatures – maybe my reflexes aren’t as good as they used to be? …Or is it because you actually CAN’T avoid them and the developers just decided to throw loads of health boosts at you to make up for it? Wait a minute, here’s the sarlacc pit boss… oh, you can’t avoid his attacks either. And now I’m dead and the restart point seems to be practically at the beginning of the level. That’s …erm… frustrating.”
Yes, 17 years is a long time in the world of video games, and little things we now take for granted – like reasonably spaced restart points – were thin on the ground back in 1993. But there are some aspects of Super Star Wars that are frankly just the result of poor design, like the inability to avoid getting hit, or the all-too-common ‘leaps of faith’ where you can’t see the platform you’re meant to be jumping onto (which usually results in you landing in that all-too-common ‘insta-kill’ lava instead).
[We rejoin Lewis’s inner monologue as he starts level 3 outside the Jawa sandcrawler.] “Ah, I remember this bit! I love that noise the Jawas make when you shoot them! Right, just need to make my way to the top of the sandcrawler by navigating these moving, wafer-thin platforms… Oh. I’ve fallen right back to the beginning. Right let’s try again… Hmm, seems a little tricky to persuade Luke to do that spinny ‘super jump’ thing, I seem to end up doing a ‘normal’ jump half of the time… Oh. I’ve fallen again.]
[Fifteen minutes later…]
“Right, finally got to the top! Now I just need to jump insid… hold on, gun emplacements? WTF? Oh. Dead again.”
[Another fifteen minutes later…]
“OK, I think I’m getting near the bottom of the sandcrawler now, although those myriad boucing lasers and security flamethrowers were a tad annoying. Still, I’ve been playing for ages, so I can’t be too far away… Hold on, I’ve come to a dead end and I can’t see what’s at the bottom of this drop. Must be another platform I guess, I’ll just jump down… Oh. It’s ‘insta-kill’ lava. That’s a bit… erm… irritating. Oh, and I’ve been taken back to almost the very beginning of the level… Right, I think I need to stop playing and find somewhere I can hurl this controller in rage without damaging any expensive electronics equipment.”
In a nutshell, Super Star Wars is just a tiny bit infuriating. But my younger self just couldn’t get enough of it – perhaps in the pre-internet, pre-’instant access’ era I had a little more patience. And let’s face it, games were just harder back then, not like these namby-pamby modern games.
So bearing that in mind, I’ve decided to embrace Super Star Wars for what it is and dismiss its faults as the foibles of a bygone age – welcome to our video game canon old friend. Although if it’s all right with you, I’d prefer to remember you as the esteemed game of my youth rather than the frustrating throwback I bought in a fit of nostalgia.
X-Men Mutant Apocalypse
Okay, the trilogy of X-Men (technically, Marvel) articles on the weekend. I doled out Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the Playstation 3, then Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for Xbox Live – now I’m headed back to the Super Nintendo.
I couldn’t think of any throwback Marvel vs. Capcom games I had floating around the house (though I recall similar beat ’em ups in the arcade once upon a time) – so I decided to look around for an X-Men or Marvel title, and found X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for my Super Nintendo and figured I’d toss it in for a bit. Now, while the other two games I talked about this weekend were fighter games, this one is a beat ’em up/platformer. It lacks the depth of field you find in Final Fight, Double Dragon or Streets of Rage, but you have to time your jumps and memorize attack patterns a bit more along the way.
Early on levels are designed around whichever mutant you are going to play (Psylocke, Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast and Gambit). It’s an interesting idea, since most games of this sort let you pick from a pool to get through a level – and that happens later in the game, but early on each X-Man is assigned a task in a different location, forcing you to use them all. This is a good and bad thing since you may prefer one character over the others, but it does add a bit more variety to the gameplay as well when you have someone like Wolverine who just tears through people using his claws while moving left to right, as opposed to someone like Beast who can cling to ceilings and attack enemies from above as well.
The story’s a bit of a mess, which is often the case in these older comic games, but the sounds get the job done and the graphics actually look pretty good. I didn’t spend a ton of time playing this one again – I honestly don’t have the patience for memorizing platforming like I did years ago, but I got a grin out of my time running around beating people up along the way.
We promise to make no mention of this game’s classicly terrible box art in this post… oh wait.
Anyway, upon release of the Super NES, Final Fight was a big deal. While Capcom’s port was impressive in a number of ways, it was missing multi-player and third playable character, Guy. With Streets of Rage drawing attention in the Sega department, Jaleco decided to fill the two-player beat-em-up void on the SNES with Rival Turf.
Rival Turf isn’t terrible, but it’s generic and brutally difficult. The two characters, Jack Flack and Oozie Nelson (seriously) patrol the streets in levels that are nothing short of blatant knocks on better games. Enemies are the real issue, coming in with names like Skinny and Butch. They’re incredibly overpowered, laying on unblockable combos at will.
Collision detection is sloppy, and the cheap animation doesn’t help matters. The game would spawn two sequels, including the far better Brawl Brothers and moving back into sloppy territory with The Peace Keepers, all SNES exclusive. Rival Turf is easily the worst of the lot, and while not the most painful beat-em-up experience on the system (Bebe’s Kids, we’re looking at you), it’s utterly amazing how a game could sell well enough to spawn a sequel purely on multi-player aspects.
Super Bomberman 4
There are 5 Super Bomberman games on the SNES/SFC. Not many people know this as in the Western world only the first 3 were released. The problem is that Super Bomberman 4 was released in 1996 which was around the time the SNES had started to drop in popularity. The world was anticipating the next generation of systems, & the 16 bit machines were being abandoned. Not in Japan however, where SNES games were made well into the year 2000. On a side note, recently a Bomberman article featured in Retrogamer magazine where they claim that number 5 was the only one never released outside Japan, but I can’t find any evidence to suggest 4 was so we’ll put that down to being a mistake.
So let’s have a look at the game. A very nice intro starts us off with Shiro & Kuro (another little known fact is that the 2 Bombers actually have names) asleep on a rocket ship which is attacked by a group of 5 evil bombers.
The guys are then awoken from their sleep & they are sent into a world full of clocks for some reason with a little girl dressed in cowboy clothes. Hey, it’s Japanese, I don’t speak it, so that’s the best I can give you. The manual has a little comic at the start which explains the story, but as it too is in Japanese I can’t refer to that for plot points I’m afraid. Does the plot of a Bomberman game REALLY matter though? We all know what we’re here for. BLOWING THINGS UP!!!
As you can see by the title screen at the top of the page you have your typical 3 options of “Normal Game”, “Battle Game” & “Password” for the normal game. If you’ve ever played a Bomberman game you’ll be pretty familiar with these options. If not I’ll explain as we go along. How does Bomberman 4 differ from the others? Well I’m glad you asked…
Here’s the first stage:
Not a lot in it, is there? Looks like Bomberman 1, Bomberman 2 & Bomberman 3. Bomberman 5 had a massive graphics overhaul which will be covered in another review later on. But here we are, typical Bomberman play. For the uninitiated, You play as Shiro (the white bomber) or Kuro (the black bomber) & using an infinite supply of bombs (though initially you can only use 1 at a time) you must blow up boxes blocking your path to the enemies, collect any powerups that may appear from those blocks, then blow up the enemies, then an exit will appear. You go to that exit & it’s level over. It really is the simplest of concepts.
Each Bomberman game has little things which differentiate it from the one previous. Bomberman 3 was quite innovative in that it had the Louies (Rooies), who were kangaroo type characters that you could ride. When blown up, some of the blocks in the level would reveal an egg you could collect. It would hatch into a Louie & you could ride it. Each Louie has its own special ability. Yes, it’s Bomberman’s version of Yoshi, but we won’t dwell on that as the Louies aren’t in this game. They do come back in Bomberman 5 however.
Bomberman 4 expands on this feature by allowing you to defeat enemies & use their special abilities. Some enemies when blown up will become green spotted, or metallic eggs. You collect the eggs, they hatch back into that enemy you blew up & they become your pets, allowing you to ride them & use their special abilities.
Unlike Bomberman 3 you can stockpile these guys allowing you to ride one & carry 2 eggs behind you in reserve. The problem with this is when you lay a bomb you must get those eggs out the way or they WILL be destroyed, even if you’re clear of the bomb yourself. If you are in a 2 player game your ally can come & pinch one of the eggs. This can be a problem in Battle Mode which we’ll cover later.
Another new idea introduced in this game is the idea of imprisoned Bombers who you can free. In some levels you will see a rattling cage such as the one pictured below. It’s along the left. side of the image.
Blow up the cage & you get yourself an ally for the remainder of the level. Here he is in the top left corner of the screen.
Why is he up there for seemingly no reason? Well the problem is these Bombers aren’t too bright, just seeming to lay bombs at random. This can cause problems as they don’t seem to care where you are when they place them. You don’t HAVE to free them to pass the level, so if you want to leave them to rot in their tiny cages go right ahead. They deserve it!!
I haven’t touched on the powerups yet. Upon destroying blocks you may find one of the following:
Skates for speed
Wooden sandals to slow you down
Additional blast power
Viruses that cause random negative affects
Remote control bombs
The ability to kick bombs out of your way
The ability to punch bombs
The ability to be hit once & still remain in the game
Spikey bombs that go through blocks
Clock that freezes enemies
The ability to go through walls
The ability to pick up other Bombermen & throw them
The ability to push other Bombermen
2 others I can’t understand from the manual. One has a picture of a question mark & another as a normal human face. I never saw this item while playing the game, so I don’t know what it is.
The single player mode showcases some impressive bosses. The guys at Hudson really have a good imagination when it comes to designing some of these.
Not much to say here. Hit them 8 times with a bomb blast & they’re history.
Music is fun as always with variations on Bomberman themes featured in the earlier games. In Bomberman 3 as soon as you turned the console on you would hear a voice saying “By Hudsonsoft”. This voice is back but it’s slightly slower & less high pitched. The little Bombers will speak occasionally, but as it’s in Japanese I don’t really know what they’re saying.
Let’s move on to Battle Mode. Bomberman 4 gives us a little more yet keeps the improvements introduced in Bomberman 3. You can either choose a generic Bomber or one of the 5 enemies.
Now these guys aren’t just new sprites that look different. Each of the Bombers has their own special ability which can be used to cause problems for the opposition. For example, one of them can swing a ball & chain over their heads knocking items off anyone they hit & scattering them across the screen for other players to pick up. Another one can shoot fire destroying anyone it hits, but he loses all his powerup abilities for a short time afterwards. Now you & all of your friends will want to play Battle mode over & over trying all 6 of them… presumably that was the idea anyway…
When a Bomber gets blown up you can switch on an option that will allow them to come back & exact revenge on the players still in the play field. They pilot little ships that hover on the outside of the play field & can lob bombs into it. If a player is hit on the head with one of these bombs they get stunned & lose some of their items which will scatter around the screen, so if you blow someone up watch out!!! They may come back & hunt you down.
This is without a doubt my favourite Bomberman game & it’s a shame it was never released outside Japan. What makes it my favourite? I personally think it’s the most innovative of the 5 games. Lots of new ideas which expand on an old favourite. It’s got to be 5/5. Sheer Hudsonsoft brilliance.
Format: Super NES Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up Released: 1991 Developer:Capcom
Back in the day, I used to be a massive fan of shoot ‘em ups (or ‘shmups’ as people are trendily abbreviating them nowadays). I don’t play them so much anymore, but there’s still something satisfying about a good shooter – the frantic button hammering, the screen-filling bosses, the feeling of constantly being no more than a gnat’s hair away from explodey death… yeah, there really is nothing like a good old shoot ‘em up.
Having said that, I think you do need a special kind of gaming autism to really enjoy them: the hallmark of the genre is a level of difficulty that cultivates armchair-gnawing, joypad-snapping frustration in most gamers, but shmup players have developed the Zen-like patience/sheer bloody-mindedness to not only persevere with but enjoy these most unforgiving of games. In this respect, U.N. Squadron was a little more lenient than its peers, featuring – horror of horrors – an energy bar. Energy bars are like kryptonite to hardcore shoot ‘em up players, who believe that they detract from the intensity of the shoot ‘em up experience. For sane people though, they offer the opportunity to get past the end of the first level without retrying several hundred times.
Despite the energy bar, U.N. Squadron was by no means easy, although it was a lot more forgiving than some of its contemporaries, such as Gradius III. It also had the added bonus of featuring various paths through the game, something that we take for granted now but which at the time was fairly rare. This meant that it was rare to get stuck on one level, and the sheer variety of planes and weapon upgrades was a compelling reason to keep playing (and replaying).
Surprisingly, U.N. Squadron had a plot. I say ‘surprisingly’, because I’ve just found out that it’s based on an old manga called ‘Area 88′ – you can read all about it here. I’m always surprised when games like this have a plot – it seems so utterly unnecessary and ridiculous, like the ongoing plot of Tekken. I mean, in what possible situation would a single plane go up against an entire air force? I’m not sure where the U.N. come into it either – I presume that in this scenario the G8 have withdrawn funding, so the U.N. can only afford to send one plane at a time on peacekeeping missions.
Looking back at this game, it’s clear just how much gaming has moved on in the last twenty years, and I even remember thinking at the time that shoot ‘em ups were ‘a bit old-fashioned’. The entire genre is based around repetitiveness, and any attempt at complexity rarely extends beyond choosing which special weapons to equip. Having said that, it’s hard to beat shmups for a pure adrenaline rush, and now that I have less and less time to play games, a quick five-minute blast on a traditional side scroller like this has more and more appeal. U.N. Squadron was certainly one of the better genre efforts, and it’s surely overdue for a revival.
Shoot ‘em ups are a sort of prehistoric gaming genre that has somehow survived into the 21st century – like the Coelacanth, they keep being declared extinct, and then a thriving colony of them pops up somewhere unexpected. After all, a healthy clutch of shooters was recently spotted on PS2, and reports of new shmups being released on Dreamcast persisted long after the console’s ‘demise’. Here’s hoping that U.N. Squadron will throw off its extinct status and resurface on Xbox Live Arcade sometime soon.
Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose
This game took everything that the previous games did well and took it to another level. An amazing game and a true pick of the week is Tiny Toons -Buster Busts Loose-. The game is mainly a series of shows that you play through as an actor. You will find yourself in different levels such as the Acme Academy or a haunted house. The gameplay is quite entertaining as you can make Buster run by pressing the L or R buttons on your controller. Be careful when using this technique as if you do it in the wrong place, the consequences will be deadly!
The graphics of the game are quite good. They match scenes from the cartoon and are well made. Konami made sure you were playing a Tiny Toons atmosphere kind of game. All the characters look how they are supposed to look and the scenes are a joy to watch. With such a colorful and vivid game, there is nothing to hate about it. The sound is another winner as you will be familiarized with tunes related to the cartoon. Not only that but some remixes of them are quite inspiring and brings you to the moment of the game you are actually playing. There is no way you should play this game on mute! Just sit back and enjoy the tunes!
The game showcases the usual Konami bad ass options as you’ll only get the true ending by beating the game in hard. Konami used to do this to all of their hit games back in the day to make sure you lived up to their expectations. This game can be quite tough especially in stage five but you’ll be able to go through with enough practice and patience. After all, it’s just another one of those fun games that can stay quite fun even at its hardest moments.
OG Staff playing the game!
So we take a look at Mega Man VII for the SNES. The game is definitely worth checking and going over as it’s probably one of the better SNES Mega Man games.
The music is Capcom’s soundtrack at its best. It’s as enjoyable as the NES counter parts and very fulfilling! The transition from NES Mega Man to SNES Mega Man was a success! The sound effects could have been a little better but I understand what they were trying to do especially with the release of the X series. The main idea was to make Mega Man a more kid friendly game because X was more of a serious game. That’s just my theory and that’s just how it looks like.
The graphics are quite enriching and beautiful for such a SNES title. Mega Man has never looked more lively and he is quite enjoyable to look at especially when you aren’t doing anything with him and he just stares side to side. You know he wants to shoot at stuff! Either way, all the classic Mega Man characters are here including Proto Man and the introduction of Bass starts in this game as well. They all look sharp and lively, it’s a great sight especially to gamers that were playing 8-bit Mega Man all these years.
There is not much to say about the Gameplay, it’s Mega Man after all! Mega man is known for its action packed shooting everywhere levels! The bosses are as tough as ever and represent a great challenge. The introduction to collecting clamps as money to create new items and such was a great addition to the series. It gave it more of an RPG taste and helped you through your quest to defeat Dr. Wily.
Mega Man games have been known for having amazing replay value and this one is no different. I can always go back to this one and beat it in a single run from time to time. It’s just a very enjoyable game and believe it or not, I feel the same way about many of the NES counterparts. There is just so much joy of defeating robot masters and shooting everywhere that never gets all. Mega Man is where it’s at for replay value.
Finally, this game is a must have for any collector or player. You will get a side-scroller that’s definitely worth every single penny. You might end up paying a little too much for this game but it’s a great addition and gameplay experience to anyone! Be sure not to miss this game, and don’t forget to check out the X series for the same console. Till next week!
So it’s time for another pick of the week even though it’s a little late but we’ll keep them coming along steadily. This time around we have Mega Man X3 for the SNES. The game itself is the final release in the SNES trilogy of the X series and in my opinion, the toughest one of them all. You may not get a hadoken or a fire punch like in previous games but you’ll get whatever you need to get the job done. Read on!
Capcom has always been known for having such great soundtracks in their games and this one is like the others. The music is memorable and has its classic Capcom bits all over it. You’ll enjoy this soundtrack as much as the previous X games.
The graphics are a little disappointing as they look exactly like the first X game graphics! Even with the help of the FX chip, this game wasn’t able to showcase much better graphical interface. I’m not saying I’m disappointed as Capcom and Mega Man games have always had that similarities on their sequels which is that they don’t change much over their releases. The gameplay is king of these series anyways.
The X games gave new life to an already used to Mega Man series. This time around, X can climb on walls and such which is something you didn’t see in the original Mega Man series. The game itself is challenging from beginning to end so you better bring your A-game if you want to be able to get through it. I personally think this game is the toughest one of the three in the SNES. If we talk about the rest of the releases in other consoles, well not going to get into that.
Mega Man games are always great replay value. The thing about these games is that you can get through it in one run if you know enough of the game that is. Practice makes perfect! I dare you go and play through all three X games in one sitting. I know I would if I had them! Mega Man X collection anyone?
So to conclude, the game itself is totally worth it. You might end up paying a lot for this in its SNES form so be sure to check out cheaper alternatives like the PS2 compilation or an emulator. You can’t go wrong! Just play this great game and defeat Sigma once more!!
By: Ukiyotei / Sony Imagesoft Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES
Also Available For: Nothing
The arrival of the monstrous 32-bit consoles in the mid 90’s may have brought lots of flashy polygons and lighting effects with them but something else their arrival did was to overshadow a good few of the later releases for the trusty 16-bit machines, and among them was this offering from Sony which must surely have been one of the last games they made for someone else’s console. It takes the form of a platform/adventure game and is actually pretty flashy itself which is just as well since its story is not. It’s an adventure that sees you take the role of a young scamp named Sky, believe or not, which presumably means his adventure will take the form of a ‘blaze’ across the magical kingdom in which he lives; a magical kingdom, incidentally, which is now bereft of its princess, Ariana, who has been kidnapped by the nefarious ‘Lord of War’, Ashura, who intends to use her magical properties to summon Raglan, an ancient creature of unspeakable terror. The story gets a little more detailed with the odd piece of dialogue here and there but the basic objective is – rescue Ariana and smack Ashura upside the head!
The quest at hand is a rather large one consisting of eighteen stages which are selected, and can also be revisited, via the map screen which shows them spread across the fictional world in question. They include the usual forests, castles, temples, and caverns, as well as a few more unusual locations, and they’re patrolled by a considerable variety of enemies such as sorcerers, dragons, and strange monsters beyond description, all of whom are intent on depleting Sky’s energy meter. He’s a fairly agile guy though. He can run and jump around like any decent platform hero but he can also climb up walls as well which proves to be extremely helpful. His attacks come in two forms. The most basic sees him unleash his fury via punches and kicks which are so ferocious they leave blue swirly things in their wake! These are of course available without restriction. His more potent attacks requires magic power which is represented by a meter similar to the energy one at the top of the screen.
There are eight magic attacks in all but you start the game with only the first. The others are acquired one at a time after successfully vanquishing successive bosses and, whilst looking quite sparkly and flashy, actually only perform the usual old power-up tricks – more powerful projectile attacks, enemy freeze, temporary shield, smart bomb, etc. You can cycle through all the magics you’ve obtained and of course each has its uses. Using them depletes your magic power, but it’s possible to collect bottles to replenish your reserves. Bottles to recover energy also exist and there are large and small varieties of each. The only other special items to keep your eyes open for are gems. Collecting a hundred of these will award you with an extra life but there’s also some bigger ones dotted around which are worth ten normal ones. All these items are dropped by defeated enemies but they can also often be found around the stages, located in hard-to-reach places of course, so mastering Sky’s movements is key here.
He doesn’t have a huge repertoire of actions available but control over him is near-flawless, and it needs to be for much of the game. Quite a bit of the action is made up of standard platforming but Sky’s agility is called into question on many occasions as well. There’s some steep walls he needs to clamber up, the second stage mostly takes place through tree-tops with monsters hiding inside, the fourth stage sees him commandeer a mini-hang-glider, there’s a Nebulus-style rotating tower stage with precarious little platforms, and some areas have moving sections of wall which need to be navigated very quickly to avoid a crushing! These comprise but a few examples of the varied gameplay on offer here, and there’s also the bosses. Rather than the usual one boss per stage, here there’s only ten boss battles, but they also invariably require lots of leaping and wall-climbing tomfoolery as well! Fortunately it’s possible to use your magic during these battles and success is generally met with a chit-chat with the old man who guides you through the game and a return to the map screen from where it’s sometimes possible to choose between several stages.
As mentioned, one area in which Skyblazer excels is the variety between stages. Some games try to add mini-games or bolt-on inappropriate sections that don’t feel right but here the balance has been struck just about right. Each of the many stages is distinctive and each requires a slightly different approach without ever betraying the style and feel of the game. You even have to travel between continents on the map screen by hang-glider which sees the game switch to a 3D view, using trusty Mode 7 of course! A few other touches of Mode 7 have been used during the course of the game too, without ever going overboard, and that’s typical of the graphics used throughout really – instead of trying to do too much, Ukiyotei have ensured that everything is clean, neat, and finely polished, and the result is fantastic. Accordingly, the sprites all feature an ideal amount of detail and the backdrops, whilst generally quite basic, are beautifully drawn with fantastic use of colour throughout.
There’s some nice special effects during the course of the game, such as the rain on the first stage, and the animation is nice too. The foreground graphics aren’t as varied as the everything else, consisting mostly of rock, but all look great as well. Splendidly, the audio is also of a very high standard. The sound effects are good, although not hugely numerous or memorable, but the music is superb. The style is typical of the SNES and its distinctive sound chip and there’s lots of different tunes which are very rousing and moody and add a lot to the atmosphere of the game. The various stages, as well as the aforementioned variety, are generally very well designed, and increasingly challenging as well (although there is a handy password system). Most of the usual themes are visited here at some point like woodland areas, slippy ice, deserts, castles, etc, but there is usually at least an attempt to do something a bit more interesting with them than the norm.
When I first started playing this game my initial impressions of it were great anyway, but after the first few stages I really started wondering what might be in store for me on the next one too! Sure enough, throughout most of its length it continually surprised me, and pretty much always in a good way. The rise in difficulty is well-graded – the first day’s play should see you reach the second continent but it does get quite tough and requires some quick thinking as well as quick reflexes. In addition to the modestly-numbered enemies there’s plenty of traps and hazards around the stages such as moving platforms, spikes, fire, and all the usual stuff, as well as a few less common ones like rolling logs. Using (or saving) your magic power also requires a little strategic thinking as it can occasionally be used to pass some of these hazards. Overall, it’s hard to think of anything bad about Skyblazer. The SNES sets the standard pretty high for platformers but this one is a tremendously entertaining, varied, and long-lasting game which deserves your attention, however belatedly. The last good release for the SNES? Probably not but it’s certainly a good release. A very good one in fact!
RKS Score: 8/10
This week we have another gem added to the list. Killer Instinct was Nintendo’s answer to other fighters out there and a true classic game. They were very successful with it although the franchise was long abandoned, we can still look back at this game and see what Nintendo did right.
The music is quite catchy for a fighter game. There might not be classic tunes like from Street Fighter 2 but there is something special that came with this game and that’s Killer Kuts. It’s a disc with remixed music of the game!
The graphics are beautiful. The SNES looked to be in its limits when this was released. The game has a 32bit feel although it’s being run in a 16bit console. All I can say is that this was the shit back in 1995!
In this game you have to find your favorite fighter and master him or her. You better learn all the finishing moves, combos, and of course the Ultras! The gameplay is very easy to learn so anyone can pick up and play. The next level comes to when you increase the difficulty and decide to take people on the arcade. Of course, that was a 90s thing.
Like any fighter, this game is awesome to play against another friend. Have a fighters party and take on all your buddies in a tournament. I can go on and on….it also helps if you have a grudge against a friend and want to kill him via-video games. That works!
So to conclude, the game is a classic that should not be forgotten. With such memorable characters, great fighting engine, and lots of replay value you can’t go wrong with Killer Instinct! An absolute must have for any retro gamer!
There’s no doubt that the Mario series is one of the greatest runs in the history of gaming, and no doubt thatSuper Mario World is near the top (if not THE top) of the list. Here is where I give you my opinion. Let me tell you why I’m a bit odd…
I had mentioned during a Sonic review that I preferred that series over Mario. I understand that I’m in the minority, but let me explain…I’ve always preferred my games a bit linear. I like having a goal. I like going from point A to point B to complete that goal. The thing that drives me crazy about the Mario games is that there is so many hidden things, so many warps, so many crazy-ass things going on at the same time, that I sometimes forget why I was playing in the first place…the GOAL. I don’t care about capturing every coin, or every power-up, or finding every secret entrance…I just want to grab that princess and tickle Bowser with my moustache. …or was that the other way around? I just wanted to make myself clear.
Anyway, the first thing I wanted to add was…I had fun. I had a lot of fun. There were a couple of times I got stuck and had to hit YouTube for the walkthrough, but …what the hell.
The game starts with the princess getting captured again…which is ridiculous, but these games aren’t known for their clever storylines. Bowser is back with his little minion-creatures, and you have to stop them. Luckily, your brother can help (if you play co-op), and you have a new buddy named Yoshi, who is kind of a cute, lizardy/dino thingy that eats constantly…including most of the bad guys. You can (and will) ride him like a horse, although I personally didn’t have much need for him as long as I had cooler power-ups (more on them later).
The graphics were the first thing I noticed, where I could tell a huge difference between the NES andSNES processors. The basic look of characters and backgrounds were mimicked from SMB3, but a nice upgrade with the brighter colors. Didn’t look too cartoony, which I thought may be a problem for me. I know this was an early title for the SNES, but was damned impressed with the varied look of the backgrounds, and how smoothly everything ran.
The classic Mario music was all here…light and bubbly for the most part. Very cutesy and expected for the game. It was mixed up for different stages and “boss” fights, the tone changed when necessary…just enough to notice and appreciate, but not distracting.
The sound effects were fun and funny, again expected. Nothing that really jumped out at me…just typical Mario stuff. Jumping, grabbing coins, etc..
The controls were solid, although it can be difficult trying the “combo” buttons like flying (and hold flight). Mario moved fluidly, sometimes a little too fast, but that’s more my problem. Overall, very nice.
Back to the gameplay, the map system is still present, very similar to SMB3. Complete a level, and a pathway appears for you to travel to the next area. All pretty simple, although there were some hidden areas that needed accessing for pass-through. This is why I needed YouTube. I don’t mind secret areas if they are “bonuses”, but usually frown upon them if they are necessary. Nothing more frustrating to me than completing a level, then finding out I have to redo the level because there was some ordinary block that I was supposed to hit, which will open a secret room, which will give me some key to open another path. Again, I know most people love that stuff, but it irritates the hell out of me. If I’m playing a Tomb Raider game, I don’t want to escape a temple, fly to Rome, complete half that level, then be told the key to the underground tomb is under a rock back in the flippin temple…got it? Having ranted that, this game didn’t nearly have as much of that nonsense as I expected, and (to me) nowhere near as much as some other Mario and Zelda games.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXvHHwOYTFg[/youtube]
I will say the overall challenge of the game was not very high (which I liked), not including my cheating. CHALLENGE, I like. Frustratingly impossible, I don’t. I was grabbing power-ups like they were going out of style, and I found an area or two where I could farm the crap out of 1-ups. Not cheating exactly, but I wanted to make sure I could complete the game. Most levels were pretty easy to get through, and the replay value (for most people) is extremely high because of the countless secrets.
The bosses were ridiculously easy, just bounce on their heads a couple of times…and there you go. Not really a challenge.
Mario could get super, ride a dinosaur, swim, fly with a magic cape, spin-kick some dudes…all good fun. I really did enjoy the hell out of this game, and the imagination that goes into developing something like this should always be held in the highest regard, even if you’re not a fan of cute platformers (which I am).
I also found myself highly addicted to completing the game, which is the highest compliment I can give. I certainly never got bored with it, or probably ever would. Maybe I’ll get back to it someday and try to find those many secrets I passed up…the game does have save features after all.
Overall, I give it a 9/10. In most people’s eyes this is a perfect game, and it is great. But, the game was either too easy or too difficult, depending on the level or if the “hidden area“ NEEDED accessing. That balance was just wacky. But, it was fun…and that’s usually all I ask out of a game.
Probably the only way to get a copy of this game is by reproduction method which is really worth it but if you are a cheap bastard, you can get the rom of the game with the translated patch included in it. So here we go, one of the big mistakes Nintendo made was not to release this masterpiece. The game is just a groundbreaking hit and Nintendo didn’t know what they were thinking. In fact, they had the chance to release a lot of crappy ass games errr Star Tropics 2 which also came with a battery packed in like Earthbound does…..so why not?? Nintendo, you are truly a scumbag. Anyways, we did got the one for the SNES but missed out on the GBA one so what the hell? Lets move on. The game plays like an upgraded Dragon Warrior title except with very interesting twists and a very interesting storyline. Hmm you can even fight hippies in the game with their own theme song to drift you out of your seat so to speak.
The game is long and fun, the leveling system is simplistic and ideal for a NES game(We don’t need it to be so complicated especially when you are trying to have fun). Also, the characters are just your typical regular people! This game doesn’t take place in the past during the middle ages or the future? This is one of the few games that gives you the present life feel and does a good job at it. Overall, I don’t want to say much but I would highly recommend you getting a repro of it or like I said earlier, a rom file(you cheap fuck!). Either one will work…..
To conclude, the game has a lot of interesting facts but mentioning them will probably take the fun out of it so it’s better if you find it out on your own so no spoilers for you guys. That should be it for now, so until next time.
2. Mother 3(GBA)
3. Roms for both you cheap bastards!
Did you know?
Earthbound is called Mother in Japan….neat!
A game that left me wanting for more was the first ever Star Fox. Using the Super FX chip, the SNES took their graphics to a whole new level. It was something that we never imagined could be done but the true capabilities of the SNES left all of us in an awe. The game is quite simple. You fly around in your spaceship and complete missions. You have the ability to choose your path which can go from easy to hard. It’s up to you to pick which path you want to go through to challenge your skills. Of course, I suggest you go through the easy path first and then the hard path because it’ll make things a lot easier and a better gameplay experience.
The game’s graphics were amazing for the time and got everyone out of their seat which really means a lot. We were just getting into the 3D era so anything three-dimensional would give us orgasms in a sec. It was that good! The music is also very impressive as it gives you that feel that you are in the game itself. You will have a lot of challenges and interesting characters to keep you playing the game.
Make sure you and your comrades work as a team. This means you have to help them out whenever they ask you, don’t be a douche. If there is someone behind attacking your comrade then be sure to save his ass! To conclude, the game is a thrill to play and very satisfying until the end. There is so much to love about this game and so little to hate. Be sure to check out the practice mode if you are new to the whole Star Fox saga.
Final Fantasy II for the SNES is the reason why I started playing RPGs altogether. The storyline shocked me at times and gave me joy at others but I can say this is one of the best games for the 16-bit console. The game is your average turn based role playing game which were really huge back then and are still quite popular nowadays. Final Fantasy II is unique in a couple of things such as the ability to have up to five members in your party and the active battle system it withholds. When I say five characters is unique is because it really was unique since very few games would let you have five members in your party at any point. Most role playing games would let you have up to three or four. It was quite something to have five and I think it all helped demonstrate the power of the SNES in its early run.
The active battle system is what it stands for. The monsters won’t wait for your turn to attack, they’ll just keep attacking whether you attacked or not so be sure to make your decision on an attack as soon as you can. It’s very vital for your survival to be able to attack quickly and successfully as fast as you can. So moving on, this game’s story line is also something to enjoy. There is betrayal, change, and love all put into one cartridge. What’s not to love? It’s one of the best RPGs for the SNES period! The game is packed with a lot of peculiar characters and the usual Final Fantasy touch although I have to admit the Final Fantasy touch died years ago especially if you have played the latest Final Fantasy. What a sad reality we are having nowadays, that’s one of the reasons I stick with retro gaming and there are more to talk in that matter but I’ll leave it for another time.
The game starts you off on a mission with Cecil, the dark knight and Kain, the dragoon. These two friends will soon find out they were tricked by the king on destroying a peaceful town and then separated against their own will. Don’t worry though, they’ll eventually meet up again but I don’t want to give away any more spoilers, that would be just awful. Nevertheless, the game is packed with a long enchanting adventure and a wonderful music score. You know it’s a good score especially when you keep playing the tunes on your head hours after putting down the control pad. The difficulty of the game is moderate as there are parts of the game that you’ll need to level up in mega-old school style. It’s quite fun to this day as you learn new spells and increase your attack against monsters that used to beat you easily. The tables will eventually turn.
To conclude, this game is something to be a part of and it would be a sin not to play it. Give it a try, it’s quite good. If you aren’t into all the retro look then I suggest you pick up the remake for the Nintendo DS as it’s in full 3D but if you ask me, I prefer the original look. eBay is a good place to pick up the game although it’ll be quite pricey. You can also go for the cheaper alternative and get the GBA port of Final Fantasy 2 which they renamed it to the original number Final Fantasy 4. You have many different alternatives to this game so I suggest you pick them up and enjoy the awesomeness Square used to offer.
Another Mega Man hit for the SNES. Although in my opinion there were many hits on the SNES involving the blue bomber, this one always brings me back. The game starts like no other Mega Man game has started before which is with a first level of no use but to move the story forward somehow. After that first level, almost all Mega Man games used that technique to introduce you to the game. The game takes a lot of advantage of the SNES pad for once. You have the R and L buttons that helps X change power ups and buttons such as A to help him dash.
The introduction to many other factors in a Mega Man game were introduced and although the series turned from good to bad in the final games(X6 and X7 mostly), it’s still one of the more interesting series around. What I didn’t liked as much is how they turned away from the more appealing Mega Man storyline. There is a lot of weirdness going on but in the end, it’s acceptable. The gameplay is full shoot at everything around you style. It’s a great game if you are just starting to play platformers or the SNES overall. I highly recommend it for any player starting to play SNES games. Until next week!
One of my favorite shmups back in the 90s and especially during the console wars of the SNES-Genesis was Super R-Type. I remember going to my friend’s house just to play this game and had a blast with it. It’s just one of those games that would leave me breathless. This game at least for the most part always keeps me wanting come for more. I’m glad I was able to find this game once again. I don’t have to keep bothering my friend anymore to play it although I stopped doing that over ten years ago. Anyways, the gameplay is your solid shmup gameplay that involves a lot of shooting and a lot of power ups. The game of course increases in difficulty as you get to the later levels so take the first couple levels as training.
The game is also really great graphically and a must have for any shmups fanatic! The game can get quite challenging so if you are looking for a good challenge on shooting form, don’t hesitate to try this one out. Like any game, you can master this one with practice. Some of you may need a lot of practice while others not much at all especially gamers that are used to these kind of games.
Overall, this is one of those games that brings back memories of my childhood. It’s always great to have games like these. I’m sure many of you have sentimental games that’ll give you a flashback of your youth. In this case, I always remember taking the controller away from my friend so that I would play it only to loose five seconds later. Let us keep those memories alive forever. Until next week!
One of the games that really made me come back for more was Earth Worm Jim. There is nothing more fun than playing as a worm in a super suit! This game has a little bit of everything, but most of all, crazy monsters! The game is pretty long if you die a lot of times(like me) but fun overall. I really love a game with animation and wackiness all over it because it sort of cheers you up. It’s pretty hard to explain! I’m not sure how to say it but when you play a game full of animation and weird characters, it sort of takes you back to your childhood…a simpler time…
Anyways, the game is also packed in with a bonus level where you race to the end against this bird dude(forgot his name) and if you win, you get a continue, at least that’s what I though the can of worms was.
So this is it….not much more to say except get a copy of this game and keep the retro gaming hobby alive! You won’t regret the hilarious conclusion this game brings. Also, don’t forget about the sequel which is as good!
Super Mario World
The game that came out with the SNES release was really something out of this world. If Super Mario Bros 3 took the NES to the next level, Super Mario World gave the SNES a good start. This game is huge and I mean the name says it for itself, “world” is actually an entire world in the Mario universe. Lets move forward to the gameplay. The game is your typical Mario game but there is so much more going on including new power ups. Of course, you have your mushroom and fire flower but this time around you can also get a feather that’ll help you fly something like the leaf power in Mario 3.
The game will take you through some interesting worlds like umm Donut Plains??? and some chocolate cave if I remember right….makes me want to eat some sweets. You also once again have to battle against the koopa kids in each section of the world. They are all pretty easy in my opinion. This game was also the debut for Yoshi! Yeah the beloved dinosaur that Mario would hit in the head for him to stick his tongue out….that Mario….
Anyways, I won’t give anything more again because well unless you have been living under a tree, you have probably already played this game. If you are one of the rare players that have never played this gem then you are good. Play and enjoy it! NOW!!!
Anyways, this week we have Super Mario RPG for the SNES. Surprisingly a lot of people look at this game as a very odd one in the Mario franchise mainly because it’s an RPG and we all grew up playing Mario in platformer games. Nintendo and Square got things right on this one though. The game is jammed packed with a lot of interesting features and an awesome storyline. The battles are intense and fun as well as the enemies. Your allies have very interesting stories behind them and you can even play as bowser! You can’t do that in many mario games(except the sports ones).
The game brings your journey through a huge land with a lot of secrets to discover. Like any RPG, there are small sidequests that you are welcome to accomplish when you want to take a break from the quest.
I won’t say much more for those who still haven’t played this gem but I’ll tell you this, this game rocks! Everything is great about this game. I can’t see why anyone would miss out on this one! The only problems I had with this game are the leveling up system which only ended in level 30, and the fact that you couldn’t play as Luigi. You did see pictures of him explaining you how to play the game in the instruction manual but that’s not good enough!
One of the most amazingly classic racing games for the SNES is surely F-Zero. It was a very unique game for its time and deserves a spot at the Retro Game of the Week. The game is huge with lots of crazy tracks and your rivals as well. You have different difficulties to pick from as well as different tournaments to pick. The game is pretty simple except it’s set in the future and the race tracks have uniqueness all over. One unique factor is that the sides of the roads damage your car so driving carefully is a must. You get a lot of help with the wings on the back of your car which will help you glide to the side by pressing the R(right) and L(left) accordingly.
The game also has a lot of difficult tracks even at the easiest settings. The tracks with the big ramps are one of the more difficult ones since you need to be at certain speed to be able to get pass it. You have to take the ramp with speed enough to pass it or else you will fall down to what I’m guessing is a circuit area? Anyways, your car will explode. One of the problems I had with this game is that damn about to explode car that I always knock into when I’m driving. He takes so much of my life and sometimes even kills me! My best strategy is usually to use a turbo when I see him. It’s just me though.
Therefore, this is a very unique title to pick up and play. There are no two players so this is not a multiplayer game. You should also check out the GBA release as well as the awesome Nintendo 64 and Gamecube releases. Until next week!
Exhaust Heat a.k.a. F1 ROC: Race of Champions (1992)
By: Seta Co.Ltd Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES
Also Available For: Nothing
After I’d had my SNES for a while and played the first few games I had to death, I started to gradually add a few more to my collection, and one of the first games of my second batch was this F1 racer. After playing F-Zero so much of the previous year, I had high expectations of this, especially given its glowing Mean Machines review. Granted, on paper an F1 game doesn’t sound as exciting as a futuristic racer featuring hovering jet-cars that blast around the obstacle-filled courses at speed in excess of 400kph, but being a big fan of F1, I was looking forward to it all the same. First impressions after turning the game on were good – the title screen is nice and the presentation over the menu/options screens is really nice, but once I made all the selections I needed to and actually started playing the game my heart sank.
Whilst also featuring a Training Mode (a ‘quick race’ arcade- type mode, basically), the main play mode in Exhaust Heat is its comprehensive Grand Prix mode (career mode). Here you take on the role of both team owner and driver. You’ll start the game with a little money and must earn more through your racing – obviously the better you do, the more you’ll make. First things first though. Before you begin, you need to select a slot (giggity) in which to save your game. You can then opt for a Test Run which gives you two laps to familiarise yourself with the course, or jump straight into the Race. Here you must first qualify for the race before taking your place on the grid and racing amongst a field of eight cars. Each season consists of 16 races based on what at the time were the actual races on the F1 calendar (this was of course before all the new ones started being introduced).
The drivers are also based on the F1 drivers of the time, with the emphasis firmly on the ‘based on’ part! It seems that Seta didn’t have the license to use the actual driver or team names so we have some vague approximations being used here, but the drivers all look like who they’re based on (Mansell, Senna, Prost, etc). One thing that is not based on actual F1, however, is the ability to customise your car. Well, in real F1 I guess you can change wings, tyres, engines, etc, but I’m pretty sure they don’t use nitrous oxide! For yes, the cars here are able to employ the use of nitro’s amongst other things, and very useful it is too. The customisation options are actually pretty extensive for an arcade-style racer, allowing you to alter front, middle, or rear downforce, add faster/lighter components, change brakes, chassis, fill up the nitrous tanks, and install more powerful engines. This all costs money of course, which must be earnt by doing well in races (or by doing badly many many times).
Something else that costs money is damaging your car during a race. In a slightly unfair alteration to real F1 courses, running off the course here, even by just a small amount in some places, will not result in gravel traps as you might expect, but instead, what seem to be masses of solid concrete. These not only cause damage to your car but are also a real pain to get away from. If the damage-meter fills up, it’s game over. You can repair your car by visiting the pits, but as you might imagine, the time-delay in doing this during a three lap race pretty much ruins any chance of winning, and finishing a race with a damaged car sees you incur financial penalties, so the only way to get maximum money is to drive perfectly. That’s pretty much my biggest gripe with this game – it can be very frustrating. A great run can be ruined by hitting… well, anything really. Contact with other cars often results in a 180 degree spin, and straying off course usually has the annoying effect already mentioned.
Aside from that, the game looks very plain and there’s very little variety in the backgrounds. I know that’s to be expected with this kind of game, but even the cars are small and lack detail, and the Mode 7 effect, made famous with the aforementioned F-Zero, is less impressive here. There’s no in-game music either which is a shame as the music that does exist is pretty good, much like the presentation generally. It can be a pretty fast game when it gets going though, and it will last a while too. The Grand Prix mode doesn’t last for a mere season – you can carry on as long as you want, as far as I can tell. I believe I was a five-time defending World Champion at one point! After the initial disappointment of seeing the game for the first time, I did get into Exhaust Heat after a while. I always enjoy a good career mode to get my teeth into, but the game hasn’t aged well and despite still being reasonably playable once you’ve readjusted to it, there are so many superior racing games on the SNES, it’s hard to think of a reason why you would. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh – it’s really not that bad, but don’t expect to be bowled over!
RKS Score: 6/10
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Street Fighter 2 Turbo
One of the most influential fighters for any fighter game in particular is none other than Street Fighter 2 and what could make it a better experience? Turbo! The game went to the next level as the savvy creators (Capcom) decided it would be a good idea to let you play as the boss fighters(Bison, Vega, Sagat, and Barlog). As many of you know, the original Street Fighter 2 for the SNES came with some bugs that were later fixed in this version which is why I picked it rather than the original one. You not only get more playable fighters but you also get the turbo setting which increases the speed of the game. I do have to agree that the original Street Fighter 2 was kinda of slow but that’s for today’s standards. Back in the day, it used to kick ass and we just couldn’t wait for our fighter to land that flying kick that would take like an hour to land. It was just awesome…..
Part of the game is also to pick your fighter. I have and will always pick Ryu as the fighter of choice for myself. I like him mostly because he is the easiest fighter to play with and has very interesting and effective moves. Of course, all fighters have their strengths and weaknesses to keep the game balanced. I used to know a couple of freaks that loved playing as Dhalsim and kicked my ass with that Indian fighter. Like I said, it’s only a matter of finding which fighter suits you best and most of all, learn their strengths and weaknesses.
Yeah this game is full of interesting features such as the ending with all the fighters posing which you can only get if you don’t take damage through the whole game and you have to beat it with the highest difficulty, yeah it’s not much. Even if you are a Sega fan, the Genesis version is also a good choice. It all depends on which one you like and feel more comfortable with.
Well there is not much to say that many people have mentioned before. If you get a chance you can check out the arcade machines if there are still any left or better yet, buy yourself a 3DO console with the Street Fighter game but that will cost too much. The 3DO version is also the closest to the arcade and almost perfect. That should do it for this week.
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES First Day Score: 27,200
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console
I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s gameplay that counts, not graphics, hence my love of older games (increasingly in preference to new ones, in fact). This is my view and I stand by it. However, if there always seemed to be one genre that belied that stance, it’s that of the racing/driving games. Gameplay was and is still very important in these games of course, but due to their very nature, older machines rarely saw them due to their technical limitations. When they did, with the exception of a small number of classics, they were often cack. Either too much effort was put into making them look pretty and the design and gameplay ended up being tacked-on afterthoughts, or they simply couldn’t make them look remotely convincing to start with. Then along came the SNES.
Mode 7 is what they called it – a new graphics-rendering trick never seen before, pioneered by the wizards at Nintendo and unleashed in the SNES. It’s hard to explain but awesome to behold. It essentially allows a 2D texture-mapped playfield or background layer to be scaled, rotated, and manipulated in all manner of ways. One of the biggest advantages of this is that the 2D playfield can be flipped into what appears to be a 3D perspective and rotated 360 degrees around whatever sprites appear on the screen at the time, creating the illusion of looking into the distance. This technique is perfect for racing games – instead of the vehicle negotiating the course, the course is rotated left and right around the vehicle, and it was first seen in….. you’ve guessed it!
F-Zero (short for Formula Zero), is in essence what Formula-1 may possibly be like in the future (assuming we haven’t blown ourselves up before then). The Grand Prix mode is a racing series consisting of fifteen courses spread evenly over three leagues – Knight, Queen and King – and any league can be selected from the start, although they get progressively harder as you might expect. Each race has four jet-car things, or ‘machines’ as they’re referred to in the game – yours, and three main computer-controlled opponents, and each varies in its specification and handling. Simply choose one of them, then choose a league, and away you go! The races are also populated by a large number of identical-looking drone cars, presumably only to hinder your progress, and some of them are flashing, indicating that they’re one hit away from exploding, so they’re basically racing mines! As mentioned, each league consists of five courses and progression to the next race is determined by your finishing position – each of the five laps in a race has a higher ranking requirement you must fulfill to avoid disqualification. Beware however – if at any point you fall below 20th place, you’re automatically disqualified.
Each course is varied and contains some original features. Jumps are quite common, but some of them occur shortly before a gap in the track – miss them and you’ll plummet down to your death! Boost pads, slow-down zones, land mines, pull-down magnets, track-side magnets and slip zones are some of the other features, and all but the first are there to cause you problems! The courses themselves also deserve special mention – they are fiendishly designed and contain some of the sharpest corners you’ll ever negotiate, including frequent 90 and even 180-degree turns, as well as long sweeping curves, hairpins, chicanes, narrow straights – everything you can think of really. The sides of all courses are secured by anti-gravitational guide beams, which don’t do anything except stop you from falling off the edge of the course. Hitting them makes you lose precious energy however, especially if you crash at high speed – you can end up bouncing around like a pinball from one side to the other if you’re not careful. Thankfully, your craft’s finite supply of energy can be replenished in the pits. Another handy, often vital feature is the Super Jet. You get one of these at the end of each lap and it provides a temporary, though substantial increase to your speed, so only use it on straights!
Obviously the Grand Prix mode forms the bulk of what F-Zero has to offer but it’s not the full extent. Also available is a Practise mode, which allows you to do just that on seven courses from the various leagues against a chosen opponent, or no opponent at all (making it a time-trial mode, essentially). One problem with many racing games in my experience is the difficulty curve. Happily, it’s nigh-on perfectly pitched here. Sure, this can be a pretty frustrating game on occasion, but it’s also one that rewards perseverance. Plus, there’s three difficulty settings too (and a fourth if you finish the others), so there’s really no excuse! Each course (nearly all of them, at least) has its own tune and they are for the most part fantastic – many of them are still celebrated and remixed today, especially the old favourite, Big Blue!
This game was a genuine jaw-dropper when it was first unveiled. Truly, nothing like it had ever been seen before – it was a revolutionary game! However, like most games that represent a leap in technical achievements, F-Zero has aged somewhat in the intervening time, and it’s now possible to look past what it achieved to see some of the things it didn’t. The biggest gripe has always been the absence of a two-player mode – as entertaining as it is, F-Zero is strictly a solo experience. Another problem is that Mode 7, for all its unique trickery, is unable to provide anything other than a completely flat racing surface, meaning, of course, no hills or banked turns or anything of that nature (something which the sequel rectified and then some!). Legitimate gripes or just nitpicking? Probably a bit of both is the cop-out but honest answer! Looking back, as good as it is, there’s no denying F-Zero could’ve been even better, but it certainly hasn’t decayed into a mouldy stain on Nintendo’s record either. This is an exciting, frenetic, fun, adranaline-rush of a racing game, and remains, in my view, one of the first must-have racing titles for any console.
RKS Score: 8/10
Super Castlevania 4
You know you have a great game when it is fun to play years later and that is exactly the case with Super Castlevania IV. Created by Konami, CV4 was the first Castlevania game for the SNES. It was released on the Super Nintendo in late 1991 to high praise by both fans and reviewers.
Before we get into my replaying of the game let’s talk about the Japanese version. In Japan the series is called Akumajō Dracula that officially translates to Devil’s Castle Dracula. There were also a number of changes between the Japanese version and the American version including the use of crosses on top of the tombstones, the misspelled name Dracura on the tombstone in the title video was changed to unreadable text.
There were also some level changes which made me a sad panda including changing pools of blood from red to green, removing the blood dripping from the title screen and changing the topless statue in level 6 of the game. Strangely enough the monster called Medusa remained topless however her nipples were removed, how kinky.
Something Old, Something New
The story of Castlevania pretty much remains the same. You play as Simon Belmont the legendary vampire hunter that has come from a long line of vampire hunters. It has been 100 years since Dracula has roamed the earth and his alarm clock just went off.
The Super Nintendo allowed a lot of cool changes to the Castlevania series over its predecessors. One of the first notable changes was the eight directions Simon can swing his whip allowing more flexibility. Second you could keep your whip out to use it like a shield and a weapon to slowly kill the monsters. More whip fun included being able to latch onto grappling points to pull Simon up or down and swing from place to place.
This game featured sub-weapons like the knife, cross and holy water that you could find by destroying Dracula’s Bed Bath and Beyond candles. You would need to collect hearts which represented your ammo for those weapons. There were also power-ups for your whip as well as normal items like health replenishment and one that killed on the enemies on the screen.
Setting the Stage
What really made this game stand out was the improved level design. Not only were the graphics improved, but the things going on within the level were new and exciting. Some of the coolest things were the room which rotated when you attached your whip to a grapple point. Another awesome stage was where you ran across wooden planks that would fall with the entire room spinning behind you. It was level design such as this that made the game so fun to play.
I loaded up Super Castlevania and it took me back to my teenage years. It only took me a moment to get use to the controls again and even though you cannot make moves like you can in SOTN it was pretty easy to control Simon. In SCV4 you could control the way you jumped and moved even in midair which was handy since there were tons of bats, birds and ghosts in the way ready to knock you to the ground.
If you are a veteran of pretty much any jumping platform game then Castlevania would not seem too hard. A lot of the challenge came when you never played before and did not know what to expect, but that is half the battle. There were a number of close jumps and run and gun sections of the game that put your skills to the test. As for the bosses, most of them had an easy pattern that after a few tries became real easy.
The Sound of Death
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The music from this game was just awesome. It sounded great back then and still today with many remixes from previous Castlevania games. The music just fit so well with the stages and did not get boring or annoying. If you want to listen to more tracks from this game head on over to The Music Hall and listen to the Super Castlevania IV OST.
The game had a mix of feeling long and short at the same time. There are 11 stages in all and if you never played before the game seems long, but if you run and gun through the game it can seem pretty quick. The monsters including the bosses were mixed in from various sources including horror movies, Greek Mythology and the bosses you would expect Dracula to team with like Frankenstein and The Mummy.
As for difficultly the only hard part was not being knocked off a platform by a bird or bat. Honestly, besides that even Dracula himself was not hard to put down. The key is keeping your health high and swinging your whip at as many walls as you can because there are a ton of hidden rooms and secret items to help you out.
You can of course play Super Castlevania IV on any emulator or you can get it on your Virtual console. Overall the game is fun to play and the soundtrack will have you humming the tunes while laying the beat down. I give the game an overall score of 9.0 out of 10.
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A fine blend of an action side-scroller & Populous-like god game rolled into one game. ~Honorabili
In ActRaiser, you take the role of a sleeping god which has just woken up after thousands of years to find that in your absence the whole world has gone to utter crap.
There are multiple stages (countries) in the game and the first stage consists of you manifesting an avatar in an action side-scroller game to fight your way through some monsters, kill a boss and liberate the land. After doing that you enter a god-mode game similar to Populous where you control a little angel cherub and you fight cute monsters and help guide the civilization level of the people of that country. Some plot device happens and then you must fight the final boss in order to free that land from monsters completely.
Once you’ve done that, so long as you met all the other objectives regarding you gifting people items/technology, that country will grow to its max population/civilization level. The more population you have in a country, the more followers you have, giving you the ability to level up (you only level up that way, not by killing stuff).
The game was written by Quintet, published by Enix (Square Enix) in 1991. There is a sequel that sucks, so just stick to the original. The game originally came out on the Super Nintendo, in 2004 released as a game for mobile phones, and in 2007 re-released on the Wii.
Fun Factor, Replayability, & My History With This Game:
I’ve played this game over 30 times since the early 90s. Although the game is rather simple, it has its own style and I play it at the bare minimum once or twice a year. It only takes me about 2-3 hours to play and beat the entire game. I keep coming back because I consider it a classic.
The action side-scrolling reminds me of a simpler Castlevania or Lionheart kind of game. The god mode game is like Populous except that it’s simpler but it’s fun watching terrain blow up and having your followers find stuff around the map.
After years of playing this I give Fun Factor a score of 7 out of 10. If you are playing it fresh, you’d probably say it’s worth an 8 out of 10. Replayability for me gets a score of 6 out of 10 as well.
Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:
Overall, the game is rather easy.
It could be that I’ve played it too many times and I know all the spots that enemies in the action game will attack from as well the attack patterns of all the bosses but even when I first played the game in the early 90s, the game was not too challenging. You can ignore most enemies in the action levels and there’s only really one challenging boss, the Dragon. Two of the other bosses are not so much hard but more annoying and the strategy to beat them is simple.
The god game part is super easy so long as you listen to what your followers want and shoot mainly the bats and white dragons they auto build everything themselves.
Difficulty gets a score of 3 out of 10. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 3 out of 10 as well because some parts get tougher slightly but the overall difficulty is the same throughout most of the game.
Most people will now be playing this game on ZSNES, the SNES emulator, probably playing a ROM they downloaded off the internet. If that’s the case the game is then free, giving Value a score of 10 out of 10.
The sounds are rather simple in this game but they are satisfactory. For me, the best sounds come in the god mode when you kill monsters and blow up their lairs. For some reason the sound that happens when your population expands has stuck to my head all these years. Sound gets a score of 7 out of 10.
The music for this game is really nice and although it’s not as popular as let’s say the music of the Final Fantasy games, it still does get remixed quite a bit. If you want to check out some of the remixes, click here to download some at ocremix. The best songs are the main action stage song that happens in the first levels, god mode town song, and the song that gets played when one of your followers invents “music”. Overall, I give the Music a score of 8 out of 10.
On the original SNES, I’ve never seen this game crash. I’ve never seen the emulated version crash either. Nothing to complain about here. Stability/Reliability get a score of 10 out of 10.
The controls are pretty straight forward. The arrow keys/thumbpad move you in the direction you want. In action mode, one button makes you attack with the sword, another jumps, another detonates your magic attack. In god game mode, one button fires the cherub’s arrow while the other brings up the god powers interface screen. The only real problem I have with the gameplay and controls is that your avatar in action side-scroller mode can’t block. A lot of the gameplay comes down to just sheer chopping and jumping out of the way. The game I find easy, so it’s just me complaining, really. Controls get a score of 8 out of 10.
Graphics & Performance:
ActRaiser was well coded and both in the original and emulated version you have no problems with the game engine not being able to catch up to the action. The performance is fluid. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.
Since there are different modes to this game, let’s talk about the graphics for each one. The action sequence has really nice graphics for a 1991 action side-scroller. In the god-mode, the graphics look cute, even for the monsters as well as the little flying cherub that kills stuff for you. For 1991, this game gets a Graphics score of 9 out of 10.
ActRaiser is a classic game for the SNES. If you are a fan of side-scrollers, you should check it out. If you also like games like Populous, although it’s very dumbed down in ActRaiser, you should also check it out. Overall, if you consider yourself a loyal SNES player, you should play this game as people who grew up playing the SNES are all very fond of this game.
Though I had played various RPG’s on the NES and Amiga in the past it was watching my friend play Final Fantasy IV on the Super NES that got me heavily into RPG’s. My friend would come over and I would just watch him play for hours, so much so that my mother began to wonder why her son was sitting around watching another boy play a game for six hours.
At the time I was a big Mario fan. I had beaten all the games that had come out even earning recognition in Nintendo Power for beating Super Mario World. When I read that Super Mario RPG, made by Square (Now Square Enix) was being released I was ecstatic. By then I had already gone back and beaten all the previous Final Fantasy games, so to combine my love for Square RPG’s and Mario into one game was just heaven.
When I finally had it in my hand and loaded it up I was amazed by the quality and music of the game. The graphics had almost a claymation vibe to it and it fit the game very well. Some of the in game sound effects were a bit loud, but overall the presentation was very well done.
The open sequence had Mario on his way to Bowser’s castle to save Princess Toadstool. The isometric platform style of the game took a bit to get use to, but after a few battles it felt natural. Unlike some of the Square RPG’s before it, in Mario RPG the enemies were visible on the map and in most cases you could avoid them though some you had no choice but to fight.
Personally I wondered how the story would go since from the beginning you were jumping and fighting your way though Bowser’s castle to find the Princess tied to a huge chandelier. You have to keep in mind there was almost no place to go at the time to see reviews or spoilers, so when I defeated Bowser the first time I was generally worried the game might not have much to it, but I was wrong.
Before I continue with the story let’s talk about game play. The game definitely felt like a Square RPG, but it had all the elements you would expect from a Mario game as well. You could walk and jump pretty freely on the main world and once in battle you fought turn based style just as you would in Final Fantasy. Within the battle you had four choices, your main attack, items, your special attack and tactics such as run away or defend.
The game is fairly easy even if you haven’t played any RPG’s before. Whichever character you were playing had different attacks and when you used them you could hit a corresponding button to increase the damage. For instance if you are playing Mario and use his jump ability, if you hit the right button at the right time you will do extra damage and you would know you did it right because you would hear a special sound, in Mario’s jump attack case it was the one up sound.
You can time your defense as well, so when an enemy is about to hit you, you would hit the correct button and you will either take less damage or absorb the hit all together. Pretty much if you got the timing down you were unbeatable, if you sucked at timing you might find some of the boss fights pretty hard.
The overall story in a nutshell was that pieces of the Star Road fell to the world and were being collected by the evil Smithy gang, Smithy, a robotic blacksmith was a from an alternate dimension with aspirations of world domination. The Smithy gang was so bad ass they even took over Bowser’s castle and kicked him out.
The main protagonist is Mario who along with Princess Toadstool, Bowser and two new characters, Mallow, a strange-looking tadpole (with a secret) and Geno, a star spirit who has taken control over a doll, fight to get the star pieces back. But fear not there are a ton of other side stories and adventures.
Now this game came out in 1996 and there are a ton of reviews on it and you can even play it on the Wii, so I am not writing this so much as a review. However, as anyone will tell you Mario RPG was one of those games that once you started playing you would not want to put down. From the music to the boss fights to the hilarious shorelines, the game, in my opinion, perfectly mixed the worlds of Mario into an RPG format that did not get stale.
Personally the use of humor in the game was what made me fall in love with it. There are multiple laugh out loud moments from fighting a giant cake, a power ranger spoof and Toadstool’s forced wedding. Also, Square tossed in many little references to its other RPG’s including a fight against a very Final Fantasy-like character called, Culex which, in my humble opinion, was pretty hard to beat.
Overall it was a great addition to the RPG lineup you could find on the SNES. I believe it is still worth playing today and though I am not a fan of the Wii, if you have one I would suggest downloading it or if you have this thing called an emulator…. Oh, the Obsolete Gamer legal team says I can’t talk about that, never mind, just go check this game out.